I’ve recently been upgrading my Imperial Guard deck. I never played Guard in high school, so at the moment it’s not much more than a glorified starter deck. When I was flipping through some extra cards, I came across a copy of Ork Hunters and quickly dismissed it.
“The BA only destroys Ork units? This is trash!” I wanted infantry units that were tough and reliable, like Iron Frost, Headhunters or Ice Hunters. A 1-armor unit with a pseudo-blank text box wasn’t what I wanted.
But this goes to show how card evaluations always have to be done within context – for every card game, not just 40K CCG. I now believe Ork Hunters are premier infantry units for Imperial Guard, for the following reasons:
- They add much-needed consistency to your deck; and
- They multiply force against a race that will often outnumber you.
Yes, in a perfect world all my Guard infantry units would be 2/2/3s with great abilities, but that’s not the reality of the faction. I think you need the weaker utility units to go along with them. Fire Support Squad is a good example. Its stat line sucks, but being able to bump your units’ firepower from 2 to 3 (or more!) is huge.
And here’s where Ork Hunters begins to shine. The 1 armor definitely is the worst part of the card, but the rest is actually quite solid for a Guard unit. 2 firepower is perfectly serviceable, the die roll is high (and badly needed), and that command line…that command line is godly for a Guard unit. Auto-passing most rolls is a remarkable plus, since Guard tends to roll a fair bit for tactics and artillery. Plus, there are corner cases where you can screw over an opponent who’s trying to go for a 6+ roll. I’m kicking myself now for overlooking such a sweet command line.
Now we come to the Ork Hunters’ BA ability. Yes, you have to give up a flag when you sac the Hunters, but the power is unmistakable. There’s great value in taking out a high-priority, high-threat unit like Veteran Skarboyz or Ammo Grotz. No rolling, no charging, no shooting is required – and you get to trade two units for one. In a back-and-forth game like 40K CCG, you will find these opportunities much less common than in Magic: The Gathering (especially modern-era Magic).
I believe Ork Hunters hint at an Imperial Guard subtheme that demands to be exploited: the ability to capitalize on your lesser units for greater gains. As a Guard player, it is possible and even expected to outnumber your opponent, but the truth is that the average Guard unit just isn’t that great. You need force multipliers to really take advantage of their numbers. That could mean something as simple as a locked Leman Russ (+1 firepower to all line units while locked) to a deceptively high-threat card like Kane’s Squad (BA: Lock an artillery unit to destroy an enemy unit). Even the Exterminator’s command line (BA: Destroy a fortification to destroy an enemy infantry unit) allows you to trade a less-potent card for a target of your choice.
I think it’d be difficult to match up with Space Marines or Chaos in a straight-up firefight. Imperial Guard needs tricks to get the edge on opposing races with commonly superior units. Ork Hunters are just one subtle way of gaining that edge.